Judas Priest

Formed 1969.
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Rob Halford on the thrill of performing

As part of BBC Four's Heavy Metal Britannia, Rob Halford talks about how his love of singing heavy metal all began.

Featured in BBC Music Clips


Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band formed in Birmingham, England in 1969. Known for twin lead guitars, a wide operatic vocal style, and for introducing the S&M leather-and-studs look into heavy metal, they have sold over 50 million albums worldwide. The band is widely recognised as one of the finest and most original heavy metal bands of all time, with many artists within the genre having cited them as a major influence. MTV ranked them the second "Greatest Metal Band" of all time.

Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the late 1970s, the band struggled with indifferently-produced records, repeated changes at the drummer position, and a lack of major commercial success or attention until 1980 when they adopted a more simplified sound on the album British Steel, which helped shoot them to rock superstar status. In 1989, they were named as defendants in an unsuccessful lawsuit alleging that subliminal messages on their albums had caused the suicide attempts of two young men.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of British Steel: 30th Anniversary Edition

    British Steel: 30th Anniversary Edition 2010

    Reviewed by John Doran
    An essential heavy metal artefact given the deluxe anniversary treatment.
  2. Review of British Steel

    British Steel 1980

    Reviewed by Sid Smith
    ...a flat out commercial album...
  3. Review of Hell Bent For Leather

    Hell Bent For Leather 1979

    Reviewed by Sid Smith
    ...the one that really put the distance between Priest and their NWOBHM opposition.